Last night I was wondering how I have developed a twitter PLN or PPLN (Powerful Personal Learning Network – refined by Bill Powers) of about 1000 people and I think that it comes down simply to inspiration, connection, friendship and respect.
On the wekend I had followed another educator as their bio looked interesting and their twitter feed included some people that I interact with, she responded a few hours later with a message to myself and three others saying “Thanks for the follow @_____, @_______ and @_______”, to which one person replied ‘Your Welcome’ and I replied with a comment on something that she had been working on and a very interesting Hashtag that she had included in her Bio – there was no reply. I found this interaction very interesting as it was not really an interaction, just a comment of thanks and a connotation that I should be grateful that I follow her. It has happened a few times in my twitter career and if they had just simply let me follow them without follow-back all would be good , but the thanks for the follow with no follow-back interaction has really made me reflect on how I view twitter.
So here it goes…
Twitter is my virtual Staffroom – I enter for professional development and I enter for friendship. Like the a real school staff room, when you leave the conversation stops, but sometimes they carry over to the photocopier or cafe down the road. This analogy helps me to comprehend that when I want to enter the staffroom I just click the App and when I don’t want to I do not click the app. Sometimes I get sent a message from a friend or send a message to a friend and this is the photocopier chat.
I follow Educators – they do not need to follow me back and if you are an educator and you follow me, I will follow you.
Education is Global and Twitter is Global – I love the idea of having friends and colleagues over the globe as well as right here in New Zealand. While prepping on a Monday morning I enjoy watching the #LadyGeeks present via YouTube in a Google hangout projected onto the IWB. Many a lunchtime I have chewed my sandwich and been inspired while partaking in different edchats like #TLAP – Teach Like a Pirate or #CaEdChat. They are live, but the previous evening in the USA due to time difference.
In the evening my friends in Asia and Australia are in the mid afternoon and it is the morning for my friends in Europe. In my morning it is the evening for my friends in North America and when I am awake it is awake time for my friends in New Zealand. I can connect and interact at any time and have formed friendships globally. Southern California is now on my travel bucket list as there is a Mexican meal waiting for me.
I will reply – It may take me a little while and it may be a reply in the way of a favourite or a retweet, but I will reply.
I do Unfollow – to me it is those sacred four words of ‘Inspiration, Connection, Friendship and Respect’ that come into consideration when following or un-following. If you inspire me with your tweets and retweets and challenge me to do better or rethink my practice I will follow you intently. If you connect with me or I connect with you I will follow you. But, I unfollow instantly if you tweet mean and I unfollow if you bulk send me your blog postings – send them once each time you blog or twice if it is a goodie, but do not set your computer to push all blog posts every 6-12 hours as I do not follow you to be on a mailing list. Additionally, if I follow you and find you many weeks or months later in my following list and can not remember why I followed you and we have not connected then I will probably unfollow.
If I can help I will – if you know me, if I know you or if we have never met, I will assist you if I can. That to me is the power of twitter. If I know the answer to your problem or know who does know the solution I will assist and I know that the majority of us here do so as well.
I never Tweet what I would not want my employer or Nana to read – OK, sounds simple and many of us use the tagline ‘These tweets do not represent the…” but if you write it, it is there, and if you can not justify why you wrote something then should you have written it?
I need to make sure I switch off – I tweet from my phone and use the twitter app. I only use Tweetdeck or the such for following hashtags or twitter chats and that is only sometimes. So, as my phone is in my pocket I am connected. The magic fix is turn of cellular data and disconnect from wifi and instantly my smartphone is what we used to have… a cell phone.